This is as close as Mike’s go­ing to get to say­ing ‘that one line’

The Willow Grove Guide - - OPINION -

Ed­i­tor’s note: There was a pro­fan­ity in to­day’s col­umn. But we can’t use pro­fan­ity in a fam­ily news­pa­per, so Mike had to change the word­ing. In its place, he has sub­sti­tuted the word “frack­ing.” We here in Penn­syl­va­nia know what frack­ing is be­cause it’s been in the news quite a bit in our state. It’s the tech­nique of frac­tur­ing an un­der­ground rock layer us­ing pres­sur­ized fluLd IoU WhH SuUSosH oI HxWUDcWLng pe­tro­leum or nat­u­ral gas from the earth. (Mike had to look it up, too.)

All I’ve ever wanted was one line. That’s it, just one line. De­spite the fact that I am not an ac­tor and have ab­so­lutely no the­atri­cal ex­pe­ri­ence what­so­ever, I’ve al­ways looked for the op­por­tu­nity to have just a cameo ap­pear­ance on some tele­vi­sion show or in some movie so that I could ut­ter just that one line.

It looks like the clos­est I’m ever go­ing to get is to have an ex­change with an ac­tor whose char­ac­ter might ac­tu­ally have said the line.

When “The So­pra­nos” was on HBl, the So­prano crew used to hang at a place called Satriale’s Pork Store in north­ern New Jersey. lut­side the store on the side­walk were a cou­ple of ta­bles, cov­ered with red and white-check­ered table­cloths. There the wiseguys would sit and shoot the breeze and con­duct busi­ness.

I al­ways wanted to be one of the hench­men, a bit player on the fringe, maybe a sol­dier in the crew, sit­ting with my el­bows on those check­ered table­cloths, chew­ing on a big ci­gar and kib­itz­ing with the rest of the pisanos. And then at the op­por­tune moment at the ap­pro­pri­ate point in the con­ver­sa­tion about a guy who had rat­ted to the cops and needed to be whacked, I would ut­ter the line: “That frack­ing guy.”

That’s it. lne line sit­ting at the Satriale’s ta­ble. Roll the cred­its. But it never hap­pened.

Then HBl had a se­ries called “Dead­wood,” about the Black Hills of South Dakota dur­ing the 1870s. It fea­tured his­tor­i­cal char­ac­ter­i­za­tions RI IDPRuV fiJuUHV OLNH :LOG BLOO Hickok, Calamity Jane, Wy­att Earp and Ge­orge Hearst.

The vil­lain on that show was a char­ac­ter named Al Swearen­gen (played bril­liantly by ac­tor Ian McShane) and Al owned the Gem Saloon, which at­tracted a clien­tele of towns­peo­ple and prospectors of ques­tion­able char­ac­ter.

I al­ways wanted to be one of those dusty-look­ing ques­tion­able cow­boy characters, sit­ting in the cor­ner of the Gem Saloon, lis­ten­ing to Al talk about whose throat he was go­ing to slit next.

And I wanted to mum­ble the line: “That frack­ing guy.” But it never hap­pened.

Then HBl had a se­ries ti­tled “The Wire,” which was mostly about the drug cul­ture of in­ner city Baltimore. ,n WKH finDO VHDVRn, RnH RI WKH VWRry­lines was about a re­porter at the Baltimore Sun who was more con­cerned with win­ning a Pulitzer Prize than he was about telling the truth with ac­cu­rate re­port­ing.

I wouldn’t have even had to break char­ac­ter for that cameo. I could have eas­ily played the griz­zled old copy ed­i­tor, who takes one look at the rouge re­porter’s ly­ing prose, and said, “That frack­ing guy.” But it never hap­pened.

Which brings me to the ac­tor who might have ac­tu­ally said some­thing like that in his ca­reer: Joe Gan­nascoli, who played gang­ster sito Spatafore for four sea­sons on “The So­pra­nos.”

I’ve al­ways been a fan of the show and Joe’s char­ac­ter, so I was sur­prised to see sev­eral months ago that the ac­tor had ac­cepted my friend re­quest on Face­book. But we had never really had any di­rect Face­book ex­changes un­til re­cently.

Joe posted one day that he was look­ing for base­ball cards of play­ers named “Joe.” In ex­change, he was of­fer­ing an au­to­graphed photo of him­self in his So­pra­nos char­ac­ter.

So I thumbed through my base­ball cards and pulled about 20 cards of guys named “Joe.” I posted the list on his Face­book page and wrote that if he was in­ter­ested, I would send them to him.

This prompted him to post a highly en­ter­tain­ing thread about my of­fer that in­cluded his wife chim­ing in about how he’d bet­ter make sure that I un­der­stood I was get­ting a pic­ture signed by only him and not the en­tire cast of “The So­pra­nos.” The ex­change ended with Joe say­ing to his wife, “Whatta you, his agent? Never mind that, go dust.” To which she replied, “Ha! Ha! I have you for that. Go clean the base­ment.”

It was all in good fun and I cer­tainly en­joyed be­ing part of the ex­change.

So I sent the base­ball cards to Joe, and about a week later I re­ceived three au­to­graphed pho­tos in re­turn, all in his “sito” char­ac­ter from “The So­pra­nos.” Cool. lf course, one of the pho­tos showed sito sit­ting at a ta­ble out­side Satriale’s Pork Store, el­bow on the red and white-checked table­cloth, left hand hold­ing a big ci­gar over an ash­tray, look­ing like he was about ready to say my line.

The photo was signed “To Mike, Joe Gan­nascoli, sito.”

Joe didn’t have any ad­vance knowl­edge of my de­sire to have one line on screen some day be­fore he sent the pic­tures. But if I would have been think­ing, I would have made a one re­quest.

I would have asked him to sign it “To Mike … that frack­ing guy.” And that would have been close enough for me.

MLkH MoUsch Ls HxHcuWLvH HdLWoU of Mont­gomery Me­dia and au­thor of the book, “Danc­ing in My Un­der­wear: The Sound­track of My Life.” He can be reached by call­ing 215-542-0200, HxW. 415 oU Ey HPDLl at msquared35@ya­hoo.com. This col­umn can also be found at www. mont­gomerynews.com.

Pic­tured are stars of the HBO se­ries ìThe So­pra­nos,î from left: Michael Im­pe­ri­oli, who played Christo­pher Molti­santi; Joe Gan­nascoli, who played Vito Spatafore; and James Gan­dolfini, who played Tony So­prano.

Mike Morsch

Outta Left­field

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